Its been a very newsworthy month over at Bleacher Report although a lot of the news has flown under the radar.
Today they announced that former head of Yahoo Sports and later Fox Sports, Brian Grey, will be joining the team in July as CEO. Bleacher Report has been without a CEO since February when Dan Kelly departed the company after less than a year at the helm. Grey is a hell of hire and one I actually predicted back in early April. Below is something I dug up in my gmail that I sent to an industry contact.
Also have you heard of the name of Brian Grey? I have a meeting with him next week. Used to run, Yahoo Sports and then later Fox Sports. I think its plausible he could be joining B/R in the CEO role. Heard some things.
What I had heard was that Brian was looking to get back into an operational role after more than a year as an Entrepenuer in Residence at Polaris Ventures. When I did meet Brian he confirmed this and I mentioned that the Bleacher Report CEO role was open to which he shrugged off with a convincing poker face.
In many cases when a EIR leaves a VC, it can be in conjunction with a round of investment in the company the EIR is joining. While Bleacher Report has not announced funding in conjunction with this move, it's something to keep an eye on. Bleacher Report's last funding per crunchbase was $3 million a year ago.
Bleacher Report has a great young founding team pictured below who will definitely lean on Grey for his experience scaling large sports properties, optimizing ad revenue, and how to chip away at ESPN.
Grey could be considered a hitter or ringer or whatever dorky title you want to give him and is a very comparable hire Jim Bankoff at SB Nation. Frankly speaking I don't know if I could dream up a better pedigree. His resume includes:
- a MBA at UCLA
- Experience at MLB
- Almost 2 years working on Nike's digital business
- 2 years at AOL on the content side and doing some business development for sports content.
- Dot.com war stories at Shutterfly
- Heading Yahoo Sports
- Heading Fox Sports
- Nearly 2 Years at a top tier VC.
In a nutshell Grey has worked on the digital side at one of sport's premier sponsors, experience on the league side, a stint at the largest internet company in it's prime, startup experience, VC experience, as well as running two of the top three sports entities not named ESPN. Needless to say the Bleacher Report team is in great hands and their investors must be ecstatic that they have someone very well suited to steer the company to a lucrative exit.
But the hiring of Grey is not the only big news flying under the radar. While digging around on their site, I came across this press release from a couple weeks back going over new protocols for writers looking to join Bleacher Report.
“We've formally moved away from an instant publication model, and all new writers are now required to submit an application before they publish on Bleacher Report,” explains Vice President of Content and Co-Founder David Finocchio. “Applicants who live up to our more rigorous 2010 editorial standards are accepted. Those who don’t are invited to continuing working on their writing and analysis, and apply again in the future. Exclusivity is based on the bar set by our 700 top writers.”
"In sum, the new policy is intended to elevate Bleacher Report’s reputation as a source of high-quality content, which will in turn increase the prestige that accrues to each of the site’s individual writers."
I found this kind of odd as I hadn't heard about this and just saw some of the Bleacher Report guys at BWB3 and don't believe this was mentioned on their panel. Maybe I just missed some of the buzz about this strategic change, but the change in policy may have purposely been a muted a bit.
Given there has been some negative chatter about Bleacher Report's former open platform model (some instances of plagiarism, low quality content, and false rumors), changing to an application model is a smart move but one that admits that the former model had some flaws. This is a huge change for them as lower quality writers will apparently be left on the outside of the community in hopes that the brand's image can regain credibility.
Overall I think both moves were well warranted. Bleacher Report is definitely a hot commodity and while the founding team is extremely sharp, Grey's experience and connections should do wonders in scaling the business and most likely selling it down the road. The new community application system will take time before it pays its dividends but is a worthwhile move. Regardless Bleacher Report will most likely still continue to have to fight a two sided war against the blogosphere as well as traditional media who they compete with for writing talent, ad dollars, and page views.
With great technology, a massive writing community, ridiculous SEO, a popular newsletter, many mainstream media partnerships, and now Grey, its quite possible Bleacher report has all the ammo they need to be the first content based Sports 2.0 company to find itself acquired by a larger media company.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Blogs With Balls 3 in Chicago. Really enjoyed myself at the conference and wanted to write up some thoughts about the experience as well as some positive and negative feedback about the event.
I attended the first event and thought it was a great success. Getting sponsors, a venue, and some of the biggest names in the sports blogosphere to all support such an ambitious event was truly a landmark achievement and you have to applaud the event organizers Kyle Bunch, Chris Lucas, and Don Povia for pulling it off. Below is a video I did with Kyle as oddly enough we shared a flight back to the Bay Area after the conference. I think he actually was the seat in front of me and is now knowledgeable about the odd sounds emitted by a sleep deprived Chinese Jew.
BWB 2 I had to miss but I heard good things. I think the sentiment was that the event was hindered by the fact it was part of the larger BlogWorld Expo convention. Many sports 2.0 organizations had tried and mostly failed to have an informative, intimate, and well attended sports track at BWE. The BWB guys broke through to some degree but I think they really feel an independent event could have been better.
So considering BWB1 and BWB 2 were both events with unforeseen challenges, you could say BWB3 was really the first event of the series you could really take a deep look at the value, execution, planning, and content of the event. Here is what I came up with:
June in Chicago was a great idea. 3rd event in about 12 months felt about right. I think having an event about every 8 months going forward would be the right balance. Loved the Midwest location and the fact that Chicago has a very solid base of bloggers that were out in full force and were great hosts.
The Wrigley Club I think was a cool idea and fit with the sports theme, but unfortunately presented some mild logistical issues. Pros included lots of area to talk and chat outside the venue, historic and central location, and an easy accessible bar with some memorable bartenders.
Unfortunately though the semi outdoor location (under an overhang with curtains duct taped to it) presented some distractions ranging from loud rain, sirens, general street noise, and some modest humidity. Given I was a bit overdressed, a little hungover, and a big guy to start with, the humidity combined with some cheap chairs made it a bit uncomfortable at times. The curtains kept falling off the overhang awhich led to there just being more noise and a lot of distractions if you're in the business of people watching like I am.
In the end I think it "felt" right but its drawbacks made the event less enjoyable too many.
The BWB guys here have a tall task every event. Drum up interest in speakers across this vast space, fit them into panels, and have an event flow with informative and entertaining content to a very diverse audience. I helped put on 2 conferences back at a job which seems ages ago and getting the agenda right was just a nightmare of an assignment, but the most pivotal to the event.
I am not going to do a breakdown of each panel (hell if you're that interested check out the whole conference on Justin.tv).
Looking back I really enjoyed a lot of the panels and thought there were some great panelists that I wanted to see. However one thing that stood out was how cookie cutter the schedule was. 6 panels, all the same amount of time, with a moderator, and with 4 or 5 panelists.
I think a lot of the content was actually muted a bit by the aforementioned street noise, distractions, etc but also just a predictable pace and format that zonked out many. Having the 6 panels all following the same template seemed to just weigh down the atmosphere and attentiveness of the crowd considerably.
A lot of the panels were really good but hindered a bit by either 1-3 panelists that didn't add much or were just bad fits. In some cases certain moderator just didn't really maximize the time and discussion. No names need to be mentioned but I think about 50% of the moderators and panelists get A or B grades, while 20% got a C, and maybe 30% or so really missing the mark.
Next go around I would maybe go with smaller panels and maybe tighter sessions. Also some more multimedia, keynotes, and comedic stylings of Spencer Hall would have helped break up the 7 hour event.
In the end I think the 6 topics were good choices and many of them get high marks. I would have liked to see a panel with all of the bloggers who have recently found employment via the sale of their blog entity (Basketball Jones, The Big Lead, EDSBS, The 700 Level). Although some details are probably confidential, I think a lot of bloggers want to know how to get to a finish line as well as know how those developments unfolded.
There has been a bunch of chatter about some of the panels in particular (see here and here). Rather than blab about some of these issues that have been covered at length, I'll say that having these genuine and passionate discussions unfolding at BWB is only further evidence that these events provide value for the space as a whole. Credibility, accountability, profitability, legality and morality were all touched upon and debated and in the end you're not going to have these frank discussions without BWB.
Also found it wierd that there was a decent sized gap in between the end of the conference and the after party. Some people seemed kind of torn about attending the after party or just calling it a day. The gap provided some people a chance to put their feet up and in many cases we lost a lot of attendees as they were a bit worn out after a long day.
Great lineup of sponsors. A pair of open bar parties bracketing the event (thanks Yardbarker and Bleacher Report). Proctor and Gamble really stepping up and showing interest in the space. Wish some of the giveaways they provided for the attendees could have been brought back on a carry on bag (had to trash some shampoo and shaving cream at the airport) but it was nice gesture and they got a lot of nice activation and PR at the event.
Justin TV provided a lot of value with the streaming and video archiving. SBN took care of lunch and Jeremiah Weed gave us a midday buzz. Unfortunately for me there were some minor issues here.
I was in the bathroom when they explained that Jeremiah Weed was giving out complimentary Sweet Teas (Arnold Palmers with Vodka in them...aka John Daly's). I grabbed one with my lunch, put down another when a waitress swung by with more. I thought Jeremiah Weed was some brewery I didn't know and that the Arnold Palmers were the non alcoholic alternative drink. Given I was a tad hungover from the night before, it was humid, and I went long sleeve with jeans, I was looking to hydrate.
While talking to some blogger folks I had another 2. It was midway through the first panel of the afternoon that I inquired if there was booze in the drinks. Definitely slowed me down a bit, but more just a comical cautionary tale.
I really enjoyed the conference because I got to reconnect with some folks as well as make some new connections and contacts. Probably going to leave some people out but really enjoyed catching up with Jim Bankoff (thanks for the on stage shout out), Diana Klochova, Joe Fortenbaugh, Alana Nguyen, Spencer Hall, Trei Brundrett, Brian Cook, Dave Nemetz, JE Skeets, Tas Melas, Eamonn Brennan, Ryan Corazza, Tom Fornelli, Adam Best, and Enrico Campitelli Jr.
Really enjoyed meeting Jason Priestas, Gene Zarnick, Zach Harper, Ed Maisonet, Zach Best, Trey Kirby, Matt Olsteen, and Ian Sohn who gave me a nice shout out on his blog. Thoroughly enjoyed fellow Buckeyes Robert Littal and Josh Zerkle (awesome guy) who both did fantastic jobs on their panels and that's not me being a homer.
Can't leave out the organizers, Kyle, Don, and Chris for another successful event.
Personally the juice was well worth the squeeze for this event and I got to rub elbows with a lot of great people and had a lot of substnative dicussions about this space and my company in particular.
Some chatter of BWB going to the South next go around. Austin seemed to be a strong contender. This space definitely needs a meeting of the minds 1-2x a year and they've really crafted this event to fill that void.
At the same token the success of the event and the rise of sports blogging is attracting a more diverse crowd with various experience and connections to the space. Also the organizers seem to have a lot of new exciting things in both their careers and personal lives.
You'd really like to see BWB4 be something special especially as developments within the space seem to be unfolding at an accelerated rate. BWB is a great concept with a great team and I look forward to see what the next one will bring as I have high expectations for the event but more importantly sports blogging as whole in the next 6-9 months. Hopefully a large part of that will be from my company and we'll be one of the many big things that may unfold in the second half of 2010.
I'll update this blog as more information becomes available.
Early this morning, The New York Times reported that general sports and gossip blog, The Big Lead had been acquired by their ad sales partner, Fantasy Sports Ventures, or as most people refer to them, FSV.
The Big Lead, an independent blog that Jason McIntyre began as a hobby, is fixated on sports media, news and gossip. Along the way, it has built a devoted, if not huge, social media following.
Now, a buyer has established a value for the blog by acquiring it for a figure in the low seven figures.....
It's funny because I actually was told this information by someone at FSV but didn't know the actual publisher in question. I almost dismissed the possibility of it being big news just because of how nonchalantly it was brought up and perceived the news to be more minor and involving some type of influential niche publisher and not a mainstream well known entity like the The Big Lead.
Fantasy Sports Ventures has been a bit quiet the past 9 months but that's not to say they haven't been making a lot of progress. They run the Fantasy Players Network, a collection of hundreds of websites that they run advertising programs for.
Many companies are in this business, but FSV is distinct in a couple of ways. Foremost they've seemed to tilt their publisher list mostly towards fantasy sports sites in addition to having a dozen or so properties that they have acquired over the years. Most vertical ad networks/rep firms, have shied away from buying publishers but FSV has made this a strategic point of emphasis and has a lot of capital allocated from their funding from Gannett just for this purpose.
FSV is also quite a bit larger than some of its startup brethren in terms of overall audience size across the network (15-17 million Comscore), reported revenue (8 figures), and size of sales team (double digits). Also the company is based in New York City with a lot of its team coming from the NFL and other mainstream league and media companies, a stark contrast to other vertical ad networks.
The Big Lead had over 3 million page views a month with somewhere around 500,000 unique visitors although the article didn't provide a number. The article doesn't cite a fixed acquisition price but indicates its low 7 figures so I'd say you're looking around 2 million bucks.
Although The Big Lead at times was a polarizing website, it was definitely a top 5 general sports blog in terms of audience, community interaction, content, and influence. You can argue that Deadspin being a part of Gawker and AOL's Fanhosue would probably give the crown to the The Big Lead and Sports By Brooks as largest independent General sports blogs.
After a pretty quiet albeit successful 2009, FSV emerges making a big splash with this acquisition as they've been seemingly more focused on fantasy news and not as much sports blogs. It remains to be seen how this changes things for them going forward but its definitely a bold move that adds more momentum behind sports blogs.
2009 closed out with a bang as AOL and NBC added some known sports specific sites. In fact, NBC's web strategy is now centered around mirroring the success of Pro Football Talk. EDSBS was acquired by SBN which has seemingly only empowered Spencer Hall to craft dynamic content/shenanigans/debauchery like only he can.
2010 has seen The Basketball Jones join the The Score and The 700 Level gobbled up by Comcast Sports Net. Suddenly the idea of individial blogs profiting with real exits, doesn't seem so crazy. A year ago there just wasn't a precedent for this, now its slowly becoming a trend for larger media companies.
You have to wonder what's the next domino to fall and what other buyers are going to make a bold move now that a handful of companies have taken the plunge.
Congrats to Jason and the team for making this happen. I am sure its been a lot of sweat equity, long nights, and blurry eyes. Also some great timing as Blogs With Balls this weekend will have even more fodder. Speaking of, be sure to say hello if you're a reader or just an attractive female stalker (my mom would prefer if you were Jewish though FYI).
As you know for the last 9 months, I've been diligently killing myself serving as Bloguin's CEO. It's no easy task and I think some of you industry insiders who read my blog can probably imagine the work that goes into maintaining and growing a blog network with no investment capital.
Often its quite a mentally taxing but along the way its good to take pride in certain accomplishments along the way. Below are some that I'm particularly proud of.
So what's this screenshot? Two things actually. First I recently noticed that some of our writers have added additional writing positions and gigs. No jealous girlfriend syndrome here. The logos you see in the screenshot above are places we have writers doing part time work. These are not companies that are just linking to or discussing our writers and sites, but places that feature our writers. Very impressive.
The other thing this screenshot shows is the tremendous ad performance/targeting we have achieved of late. If you look above you'll see we have ads on that page from ESPN and Nike. Having mainstream brands have ads on your site is nothing to brag about, but these two advertisers are perfectly targeted to our network and are paying great rates to Bloguin and our publishers. In fact as May winds down it looks like 40% of our ads will have been filled with ads from ESPN, Nike, Gatorade, Wheaties, and MasterCard. That's just a tremendous accomplishment and something that takes a lot of work behind the scenes. A quick looks shows we also had a good portion of ads from Versus earlier in the month promoing the hockey playoffs.
Another sign of our success can be found in this screenshot below.
What you're looking at here is how large Bloguin's network audience is over the last 30 days. A year ago it was a hair of 200,000 unique visitors. This month its over 900,000 and you have to take into consideration 90% of the NHL and NBA are no longer playing and the NFL and most major college sports are out of season. This is essentially a slow time for us..... but its not.
You could credit a lot of different factors for that, but at the end of the day our writers are the most critical component of Bloguin's growth. To that I say thank you for all your hard work. Our team is grinding hard and earning well deserved promotion from SI's Hot Clicks, Deadspin, Twitter, print publications, and experiencing organic growth as well. In fact we've even had some of our sites promoted on television like this clip from today.
Larry at Wezen Ball is just an unbelievably talented and creative writer. I am consistently wowed by his work but he is just one of many people who I am proud to be working with and thankful for their commitment in Bloguin.
Over the past year, online local sports audiences has escalated from a competitive hobby for media companies into an emerging front line of trench warfare. As ESPN expands their local aspirations with more regional hub sites, regional sports networks like Comcast SportsNET, Fox Sports Net, NESN, and MASN have felt some urgency to expand and fortify their online offerings. This may be in hopes of fencing off future ESPN forays into local markets or maybe even hoping to discourage ESPN entirely from entering certain local markets.
It was about a week ago, I ventured over to CSNBayarea.com to give it a once over. They've been heavily promoting their site and some of the big names they've added to their team during broadcasts of local games and I wanted to give the site a more thorough look. CSN Bay Area is one of a handful of former Fox affiliates who have switched affiliations over the last couple of years.
At first glance I was modestly impressed by the layout, content, usability, etc, but what really caught my eye was this widget below.
If you click around more, you'll find team widgets for SB Nation also populating the team pages. A quick glance at other CSN sites confirmed this wasn't an one-off arrangement with similar SB Nation promotion occurring on other CSN sites. In return CSN hub sites get promotion on SB Nation sites that are part of CSN's regional coverage. SB Nation has had a banner year working these syndication agreements as you can see below.
SB Nation certainly is offering great return value with these linking partners but most likely another contributing factor to these agreements getting done can be attributed to the warm relationships in place between these larger media companies and SB Nation's CEO, Jim Bankoff.
I wanted to wait until some formal press came out about this partnership as I often do when I stumble upon some news in this niche (maybe I should have a premium subscriber breaking news option?) and didn't have to wait long to read about it in this week's Sports Business Journal.
SB Nation’s bloggers will appear on Comcast SportsNet’s TV shows and local websites through a content-sharing deal recently signed by the two sides.
Each operation will carry the other’s breaking news and analysis in the markets where they operate together, including Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, Chicago and Northern California. CSN talent also will appear in some SB Nation blogs.
The two outfits will roll out an extensive cross-promotional partnership in other markets over the next year. CSN has locally based digital news operations in eight markets, including Boston and New York.
The article also noted that no cash is involved in this partnership and both entities will continue to sell its own ad inventory.
On the outside this doesn't look like much of a development but I am sure other insiders will tell you this is significant move by both companies.
Fox Sports has been shedding regional affiliates, Comcast has been adding them, and SB Nation's reach has grown considerably. Meanwhile ESPN has leveraged their multi platform promotional abilities to let the whole world know that they are getting into local as well.
Newspapers and sites like Examiner.com and Chicago Now are packed with content but still low on reach and with mild traction and expertise selling digital local inventory.
ESPN in a way is creating buzz, demand, and awareness about this space which will likely become a mature industry over the next couple years. If it weren't for ESPN going the local route, I think you'd see a much more paced call to arms on the local sports digital front.
My first thought is will Comcast actually put bloggers on television? If so how often will we see that or was it more just high level hyperbole?
The other striking thing that stands out is this really strengthens the relationship between Comcast and SB Nation. If you recall, it was Comcast's capital arm that was the lead investor in SB Nation's last round of investment.
While nothing has happened between the two companies since the investment announcement (almost a year ago), Comcast has really been busy in the sports space. 2 months ago they purchased The 700 Level to anchor blog style coverage for Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. Comcast has also been very active and somewhat creative in looking to grow Versus to become a more viable competitor to ESPN.
The big move though was acquiring NBC Universal which would give them a broadcast channel in NBC with sports offerings to further cross promote Versus and digital offerings. NBC also bought Pro Football Talk and has launched similar blogs for other sports similar to Yahoo Sports Blogs. If the acquisition passes through regulators Comcast would essentially have an equity stake in SB Nation (working closely with CSN now), more than a handful of RSN's broadcasing a multitude of live pro sports games in different markets, Versus and NBC who both share NHL hockey rights, some big name blogs like Pro Football Talk and The 700 Level, and a lot of legacy broadcast rights from NBC in addition the well liked Bob Costas (put me down for a man crush).
It's not hard to envision the SB Nation- Comcast partnership setting the groundwork for bigger things down the road especially if The 700 Level and Pro Football Talk moves are deemed to be successul ventures for Comcast/NBC.
I think the most logical next step would be a sales partnership between SBN and Comcast. Next time you catch a ball game on a local RSN or even just sports talk radio, keep a keen eye or eat out for for how many local advertisers are buying ad inventory.
Maybe its a car dealership, a local bar and grill, a limo service, hotel, etc, but these local companies look to connect with sports fan during television and radio broadcasts of local teams. At some point they'll begin to get more active buying online, but how natural/easy would it be for a Comcast sales representative to just utter the words "Would you also like to buy some ad inventory on CSNBayArea.com as well the largest _insert team___ blog on the web?
Local advertisers are calling local radio and television stations yet online publishers no matter how localized aren't really getting a steady flow of those calls. I am proud to say Bloguin has actually booked a pretty substantial amount of revenue the past couple of months on the local front, but its still nowhere at the level it will be in a couple of years as these advertisers get more savvy to online.
With Yahoo being another strong candidate for a SB Nation acquisition, you have to wonder if they'll throttle the acqusition pace down a bit after picking up Citizen Sports and Associated Content. Another school of thought is that they're really embracing the idea of being a media company and their strong position in sports doesn't rule out an acquisition just because of the recent acquisition spree.
Regardless, Comcast now imo becomes the heads on favorite to acquire SB Nation or probably more likely in the short term, double down with an unique sales partnership. While Yardbarker works with Fox and CBS works with Bleacher Report, you'd think SB Nation is thinking more about local advertising at this point more than national display.
On the flip side often things don't come together as planned. It was only a 4 years ago when Fox was riding high after buying Scout, College Football News, holding various RSN college football rights, and procuring the BCS broadcast rights. That didn't exactly work out as planned.
Either way its another positive step for sports bloggers and one that down the line could be pointed to as a pivotal development as larger media companies continue to snuggle up to the sports blogosphere.
There was a day and age (2005-2008) , where investors, entrepreneurs, and major media companies salivated at the idea of creating online media entities looking to capitalize on these two major trends:
- More and more people were spending their time online.
- More and more advertisers were shifting their advertising budgets to online.
The list of startups that were created with this in mind is stammering.
But then something happened. Below is a visual representation of the sudden shift (can't believe this is what I am going with here).
Digital media companies were seen as young, exciting, up and coming companies with lots of potential and room to grow.
But as ad budgets got cut, venture money disappeared, the field crowded, and some of these companies strayed away from technology and innovation the rosy outlook turned ominous. The new perception was that they were too vain, high maintenance, desperate for money and PR, unhealthy, and overly inflated.
2009 was a tough year and many companies had to change direction, downsize, refocus their business, and in some cases go out out business.
Fast forward to today though and it seems digital media companies are coming back and in a big way.
As AOL pushes all in with their content strategy, Glam Media mobilizes for a possible IPO, The Huffington Post looks to pass The New York Times, and Demand Media shoots for a billion dollar IPO, big news came out today that only reaffirmed Digital Media's comeback.
Associated Content is a hub site that publishes content from a network of freelance journalists who get get a revenue share of content produced. Tsavo Media which launched less than a year and a half ago is a collection of themed websites and blogs who was aggressive in M&A and now finds themselves with a very impressive exit.
All of this bodes well for the pack of startups hungry to find an acquisition. Frankly speaking I think the recession has ate away at the stomach of entrepreneurs who in better times may have been more steadfast in staying independent for longer.
With positive signs spanning across ad networks, content farms, as well as content/platform networks, there is certainly a second wind of optimism that indeed digital media may be worthy of the buzz and hype that was bestowed upon it in the middle half of the prior decade.
I'd look for movement on this front while keeping an eye on AOL and Yahoo who seem to be really putting the foot down on the accelerator on this front. In the sport's world some interesting things could shake out in 2010 for Bleacher Report, Yardbarker, SB Nation, Bloguin, and even individual niche blogs as companies like Comcast (owner of Versus and soon NBC), Fox, ESPN, Yahoo, CBS, and AOL look to bolster their online offerings. Also traditional print outlets like Sports Illustrated and Sporting News have hinted of having some interest on the M&A front, although its probably more of a long shot at this point.
Either way the old saying "Content is King"may end up proving true on the new frontier of online.
ESPN has for over a decade done a great job with their "This is Sportscenter" commercials. Charlie Steiner with Y2K anarchy, "Jimmy Key Sucks", and Gheorge Muresan dancing are some classics among many.
Today though, I caught a new one which poked fun of the extremely contentious as well as entertaining interview Brian Kenny had with Floyd Mayweather.
Inside jokes are often the best, often offering commentary or poking fun of a niche piece of humor. For boxing fans or just those who are in the know of all things sports, the Mayweather interview implosion was an all time classic. I've shown the 13 minute youtube clip to many. Usually someone rolls their eyes at the idea of watching a 13 minute clip. This is definitely worth it to most audiences though. In fact I had a friend request to watch it again after seeing it for the first time. Almost 1/2 an hour devoted to watching the clip below is a pretty strong statement of the entertainment offered up by the irrational exuberance and idiocy of Mayweather's logic versus a comedic, rational, and inquisitive Kenny.
If you scored the above argument in 12 one minute rounds, you'd probably have this interview scored 120 - 108 for Kenny, which mirrors how dominant Mayweather is in actual boxing fights although this was actually entertaining unlike Mayweather's fights. Mayweather probably could have used a referee stoppage to bail him out, but regardless the interview spirals into a train wreck in the opening seconds with the mere introduction of Mayweather being too soft of praise and gusto for the cocky fighter.
The commercial is great because Mayweather pokes fun of how much he got owned in that interview. Kenny keeps his same smart aleck demeanor and instead we get Floyd we've never seen before : Humbled, quiet, and shy.
Great commercial....but really its only framed in a comedic light unless you've seen the famous interview. My guess is that maybe a quarter million more people will see that interview (not because of my blog) because their curiosity about the commercial will lead them to see the original interview.
With no fight announced for Pacquio and Mosley in the rear view mirror for Mayweather, the timing is also great for this ad. Kudos to everyone involved in this one.
Earlier I pointed out the similarties between Jamie Dixon and the the guy doing the Geico commercials.
Actually now that I have them side by side, I am not so sure. In the Digornio commercial the wife definitely "Unleashes hell".
If you're a football fan, you probably know what this is
I'll save my ode to Bill Walsh for another day, but the above family tree outlines how many coaches were groomed either directly below him, within his system, or by one of his coordinators while at the Niners. Actually the tree above doesn't even do Walsh's impact on the NFL justice as it looks like many of these people never directly worked with him which is incorrect.
Here in Silicon Valley, people like to sometimes make similar family trees for certain companies and entrepreneurs as employees branch off into new ventures. Obviously given the increased pace of company life cycles and career changes in the startup world, drawing one of these up is not that hard for any larger startup that makes it big like an Ebay, Google, or Intel.
But something that has really been interesting is the legacy of some of the Yardbarker former employees who are still in the larger Sports 2.0 space although no longer with Yardbarker. Take a look below.
From left to right here is the breakdown.
-Former engineers Joe Pestro and Arthur Chang joined forces with Vishwas Prabhakara formally of Digg to start Fan Pulse. Fan pulse is a mobile app and web service that allows you to follow your favorite teams and interact with fans surrounding game activity. They're currently based out of Dog Patch Labs in San Francisco. If you download the app, Joe has promised to take you to dinner and a movie* to thank you.
*= only redeemable for movies in the romantic comedy genre, Twilight series, or something starring Matthew Mcconaughey or Gerard Butler
- Steve Paulo is now at Bleacher Report, a citizen journalism reporting platform. Bleacher Report empowers fan experts to write content that can be promoted through CBS, Fox and Google News while also soliciting feedback from their writing community. Steve is a character and a knowledgeable college football aficionado despite the fact he likes Notre Dame and thought that Willy Tuitama was going to win the 2008 Heisman
- Obviously there is myself with Bloguin, a platform centric sports blog network. Pretty much the next Google. We're actually thinking of acquiring them...
- Next up is Diana Klochkova who does everything under the sun at National Football Post while also helping with NFL player management for a player agency. National Football Post has quickly emerged as a more analytical compliment to Pro Football Talk and is a must for any NFL fan. We really miss her up here in the Bay Area as she is in San Diego now. That's the only clue I'll give on her exact whereabouts to all of her fans/stalkers.
- The strapping lad with this pretty cool confident pose that I will work on for potential future photo ops is John Driska. John is now at Watercooler Sports, a company I used to consult for. Watercooler does a lot of different things including social gaming, social team specific fan communities, and fantasy games on social networks.
- Taking up the anchor position is Dewey Hammond, now at Playmaker Mobile among a plethora of freelance opportunities. Dewey works with pro athletes to get them to produce unique content for the Playmaker Mobile platform, a social network and monetization platform for athletes under the BDA Sports agency. Dewey is quite the character and does a great job crafting awesome content that is way more entertaining than the normal PR type responses athletes give.
Pretty Cool and Best of Luck
I think one of the most important things when building a team is passion for what you do. Given how many former employees of Yardbarker are still actively involved in this very small and niche part of the startup/web world, you have to tip your cap to Pete and the rest of the Yardbarker team in vetting possible new hires to ensure great people who were passionate about sports, the web, and broadening the scope of fan engagement and the role of online sports media.
Time will tell where we'll all be in a couple of years, but for now its great to see everyone still doing something they love and in exciting startup environments. Best of luck with all the endeavors.